When it comes to cancer care, it’s helpful for many patients when their care team has a close understanding of the emotional and physical impacts that come with a difficult diagnosis or treatment.
Jana Tracy, an oncology infusion nurse at Hendricks Regional Health, knows that closeness all too well. Not only from treating cancer patients every day but being a cancer patient herself.
“I wanted to give back to patients in an area where I was treated. I also had a nurse who was a cancer survivor herself – and it’s a special bond,” said Jana. “Who better to be your nurse than someone who has gone through it all?”
Jana, from Danville, fell in love with the medical profession as a child. Her mom was a pharmacist, but Jana felt she wanted to be closer to the patient, so she turned to nursing. She started her career as a pediatric oncology nurse and has now been an oncology infusion nurse at Hendricks for nine years.
“The teamwork at Hendricks is incredible – it’s like a marriage in a way,” said Jana about the unstoppable care her nursing team provides. “We know each other so well; everybody jumps in and plays a role. I’ve never experienced that anywhere else.”
Jana is an incredible champion for her patients. She’s by their sides to cheer them on, listens to their needs, and helps provide direction during life’s biggest health challenges.
Jana was 28 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, her oldest child, a daughter, was just 3 years old. Her son was even younger, only 11 months old.
“I didn’t think I was going to see my daughter graduate high school.”
Jana went through chemotherapy, had a double mastectomy and received reconstructive surgery from Rachel Scott, MD, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Hendricks.
Today, she has been cancer free for 15 years, and even welcomed a third child.
“I am an open book and feel comfortable sharing my story. It’s almost therapeutic for me, as well,” said Jana. “I want people to know there is life after cancer.”
Next month, Jana will be in the crowd as her daughter walks across the stage to receive her high school diploma. The nurse, community member and proud mother will be standing healthy, happy and unstoppable.